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Sick Turned Away As Kosovo's Doctors Strike

PRISTINA (Reuters) -- Thousands of Kosovo doctors have gone on strike in state hospitals after failing to reach a deal for better conditions and more money, a situation that has left the sick untreated.

The newly independent country that seceded from Serbia in February has around 13,000 health workers. Doctors earn 220 euros ($300) per month, nurses 147 euros.

"The strike will continue for days and weeks. We will not stop until our requests are fulfilled by the government," said Jahir Mulolli, vice president of the health-care union.

The union refused a deal offered by the government for a pay rise of 44 euros for the next three months. The union said they want a 50 percent raise and adoption of health insurance laws by the parliament.

At Pristina hospital, doctors turned patients away and treated only emergency cases.

"The doctors planned to perform surgery on my leg today. Now they say I have to wait until the strike ends," Blerim Shaini said of his broken leg.

Kosovo has no health insurance and its government-run hospitals are in poor condition.